DR Ian Hulme, clinical lead for mental health at NHS Eastern Cheshire CCG and GP with Meadowside Medical Centre, Congleton MENTAL Health Awareness Week takes place from May 8 to 14. It is organised by the Mental Health Foundation, which wants us to recognise that good mental health is more than the absence of a problem – it’s about thriving, not surviving.
Accordingly the foundation is promoting steps we can take to look after our mental health, building resilience to cope with life’s demands.
For great advice on mental wellbeing, visit www.mentalhealth.org.uk and search for “Mental Health Awareness Week.” Alternatively, you may wish to visit the NHS Choices website at www. nhs.uk and search for ‘Mental Health’.
Here at the CCG we take mental wellbeing very seriously, recognising that one in four of us will experience a mental health problem at some stage in our lives.
We spend nearly £40m a year on mental health in support of our ambition to improve the healthrelated quality of life of people with mental health conditions, and we’re working hard to improve access to psychological therapies for people with more serious mental health problems.
These services are provided by Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, and we’ve reduced their waiting list by designing a new service for people with low to moderate symptoms of stress, anxiety or depression.
Launched in February, the new service is called Talking Therapies and is being provided by a partnership between the Big Life group and Peaks & Plains Housing Trust.
The Big Life group is offering clinical support in convenient community settings across Eastern Cheshire, rather than in clinics, while Peaks & Plains is working with Age UK Cheshire East and The Dove Service to help people with issues that can cause or worsen mental health problems. Examples include money worries, relationship problems or social isolation.
This innovative approach looks at the whole person – not just their mental health issue – and is focused as much on prevention as cure.
This approach is in line with what service users, members of the public and healthcare professionals told us they wanted.
People can self-refer to Talking Therapies or be referred by their GP, recognising that the GP practice is the first port of call for most people needing support for their mental health and wellbeing.
For more information, visit www.thebiglifegroup. com and search for ‘talking therapies Eastern Cheshire’.